Lots of people pretend to be nice. And they may seem kind at first glance. They may hold doors for old ladies. Maybe they donate to their local animal shelter. Or even — gasp! — give money to NPR. They might shop local at your farmer’s market and always, always remember their own bags. They may seem paragons of virtue. But we see you, secret assholes. You might cough up cash for the neighbor kids’ fundraiser, but you’re a Karen underneath.
Here are the sacred signs of your people:
Assholes Don’t Return Carts
They leave their carts in parking spots, jammed up on a median, or simply anywhere but an actual cart return? Assholes. Nothing short of medical disability absolves you from cart return. Nothing. If you don’t return your cart, guess who has to return your cart? Some poor guy making minimum wage. Only assholes would make him chase down carts, and call it “job security.”
They Tip Poorly … Or Not At All
Someone did you a thing. You say thank you for the thing. More than saying thank you for the thing, you realize that most of their pay comes from you saying thank you for the thing, so give them a little extra, okay? Secret assholes think, “Well, their employer pays them!” Their employer does not pay them a living wage, and you know that. Non-asshole humans tip their Uber drivers and delivery people well, especially in these times of Covid.
They Don’t Clean Up After Their Dog
Only assholes leave poo on sidewalks or in someone else’s yard. We didn’t ask for a one-hundred-and-fifty pound shitbeast. So we shouldn’t have to smell a one-hundred-and-fifty pound shitbeast. Assholes leave dog poo where it falls. Good people of the world bring poo bags, scoop it up, and throw that bag in a labeled trash receptacle, because it doesn’t count if you just drop the poo bag somewhere.
Only Assholes Are Rude To Servers
Guess whose fault it probably isn’t? Your server’s. Even if it is (like, they royally screwed up your order), you can very politely tell them what’s wrong and ask how they can fix it. And very likely: it’s still probably not their fault. Getting bitchy about literally anything with a server is like screaming at a messenger. It’s not their fault your message sucks; anyway, why are you all up in someone’s face in public, anyway? Do you think it’s okay to treat someone like human garbage because they’re supposed to bring food to your table? It’s not that deep.
Only Assholes Litter
Who’s going to pick up that plastic/paper/soda can/cigarette butt? Invisible forest elves? Only assholes toss trash where it doesn’t belong. And potentially start wildfires. That includes highways, oceans, rivers, forests, sidewalks, and anyplace a someone else will be expected to clean up after you.
They Get All Judgy McJudgerson About People
Normal people have a mantra: You do you. Want a face tattoo? Want to blast “I’m Blue” in the Starbucks line? Want to bottle feed or breastfeed or get a tramp stamp or wear sparkly eyeliner or claim you were an alien in a past life? Whatever. As long as you return your cart, man. But assholes want to get all up in that. They have something to say and they want other people to nod that yes, they are right in their assholitude, and we should all hate (insert whatever we should be judging). Assholes love a power trip.
Hey assholes, in the immortal words of Eric Cartman: “I do what I want! It’s my hot body!”
They Haven’t Taken Covid Seriously
By now, only irresponsible assholes with no sense of social obligation or civic responsibility remain unvaxxed. Don’t even open that mouth and let the words “Big Pharma” or “Big Government” come out. Assholes don’t mask, or they mask wrong, as if a year and a half into a global pandemic, they still don’t get basic principles of mask-wearing. You have to cover all of the holes on your face in public, dude.
Assholes don’t come out and announce that they hate BIPOC or women or LGBTQIA+ people. This comes out in small ways invisible to assholes, but appalling to non-assholes. They deadname trans folks as a matter of course. They use “gay” as a slur. They insinuate that Black people will shoplift and that people should “stop slamming Columbus Day.”
Any of these things can reveal secret assholes. So can bitching about who uses a disabled parking space. Ever heard of invisible disabilities? At the same time: if you’re using a disabled parking space and you don’t have a disability, invisible or otherwise, you’re a true asshole. You likely don’t return your cart or tip your server.
They Take Up More Than One Parking Spot
Dude, no one cares if you don’t want your super-special jacked-up truck scratched or if you just can’t park worth shit. People who take up more than one parking spot? Assholes. Everyone deserves an equal chance at parking, and when you screw that up, you’re messing with a basic social contract. If you don’t want to park near other cars, or you’re just terrible at it, park in the back of the goddamn lot.
They Want To Speak To A Manager — Angrily
There are very few good reasons to speak to a manager. But if someone does need to speak to a manager, they ask to do so quietly, without freaking out, and in a calm tone. They don’t shout it so everyone in the whole damn store hears. That’s called performative anger, and it’s a sign of an asshole. If someone wants everyone to know that they need to speak to a manager, they don’t really want to speak to a manager. They want everyone to know they’re pissed off enough to speak to a manager, including the manager. They also want to jeopardize someone else’s job because they didn’t get their way.
This is like, the ultimate Karen move.
Don’t be like that.
Assholes are everywhere. Avoid them. Most of all, avoid being one. That means, really, treating people with respect and thinking about your actions’ consequences. It’s not that hard. I promise.
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